Drumbeats of Anarchy, By Dele Agekameh
It is astonishing that up till now, the security agent who took to the internet, with his photograph conspicuously displayed, to issue that threat of embarking on a killing spree, has not been apprehended and brought to book.
Politicians have a way of heating up the polity. And with so many challenges currently confronting the country – from fighting corruption, to banditry and menace of herdsmen all over the place, to agitations for independence by some ethnic nationalities and incessant official terrorism unleashed on Nigerians by security agents under one guise or another, etc. – you would expect our politicians to be a little more circumspect.
Added to this plethoria of problems is the issue of the state of health of Muhammadu Buhari, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Earlier this year, Buhari travelled to the United Kingdom on a medical holiday that kept him away from the shores of the land for 50 days. While in the UK, the rumour mill was agog with Arabian or fairy tales about his health.
At a point, the president was rumoured to have even passed away in the land of the Queen, a story that was quickly debunked by his media managers. At the end of the day, it turned out to be an orchestrated hoax and the matter died a natural death. Soon after, the president flew back home ostensibly to resume his normal duties in the Aso Rock Villa.
On arrival back in the country, the general public was duly informed that the president still needed some rest after the surgery he had in London but the rumour mill would not subside. Things came to a head when the president could no longer make himself available to preside over the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting for three weeks in a row. Instead, he resorted to making brief appearances at Friday Juma’at services within the precinct of the Villa.
At a point, he was also absent from Juma’at services in the Villa on at least two occasions in a row. This heightened the speculation that the president’s health might have, indeed, taken a downward plunge. This new situation was greeted with a barrage of insinuations that the president may have become incapacitated after all. Next, a section of the public, including academics, lawyers, politicians and other ethnic bigots across the political spectrum, started calling for the invocation of section 144 of the constitution.
Section 144 of the constitution spells out the process of declaring the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vacant on grounds of incapacitation. It states that the office of the president is vacant when a two-third majority of the Executive Council (Exco) passes a resolution to that effect. By the way, the Exco comprises ministers and other persons, outside the vice president, solely appointed by the president. More than that, a team of five eminent doctors, which must include the president’s personal physician, must test the resolution. It is only after these steps have been taken and properly established, that the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives can be empowered to sign a notice to be published in the official gazette declaring the office vacant.
It is sad that rather than work for national cohesion and the harmonious coexistence of the ethnic nationalities in the country, our leaders are daily dividing us with their divide-and-rule politics, nepotism in matters of appointments, uneven spread of development…
But we all know how things work in Nigeria. Like stated earlier, apart from the vice president, who is directly picked by the party after due consultation with the president and other stakeholders, all the ministers and other members of the Exco are basically handpicked by the president himself. That makes satisfying Section 144 of the constitution a tall order. Perhaps, this was why under the late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s tenure, the Doctrine of Neccessity had to be invoked by the National Assembly to pave the way for his then deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, to succeed him as acting president.
That is talking about the legal process and procedure of effecting a change of leadership when a sitting president becomes incapacitated. In this present circumstance, the president and his handlers are doing everything possible to demonstrate to the whole world that the president is, indeed, not incapacitated whatsoever, as his detractors would want people to believe.
But, beyond the official denials and the ceaseless clamour for the president to take a bow, some ethnic bigots from his part of the country have, in the last few weeks, been engaged in issuing out ‘subtle’ threats of Armageddon if the president’s detractors do not refrain from trying to stampede him into capitulating. Whether in mosques, market places, beer parlours and other innocuous places, the message that is being passed around is that the president may have been poisoned by his enemies just to get him out of the way.
We all know that this type of rumour that is baseless and without foundation is capable of instigating anarchy if it is not quickly doused. Surprisingly, in spite of this, this rumour seems to have been gaining ground like wild fire in harmattan. And the peddlers are not only hewers of woods and drawers of water who you can dismiss as stark illiterates but, unfortunately, many quite educated people and even members of the various security outfits in Nigeria, have become voluntary megaphones in its spread.
And of course, the social media has not been left out. Quite recently, an unidentified security agent in uniform who was brandishing an AK47 rifle, took to the internet and issued a stern warning that in the event that Buhari dies, he would make sure that at least 200 people are mowed down by him in revenge. Just imagine if you have a handful of this type of megalomaniacs out there, in the event of what he envisaged, many innocent people could be sent to their early graves for mere reasons of ethnic chauvinism rather than any fault of theirs.
…to douse the rising tension, the security agencies and the president’s handlers must come out forcefully to debunk the unholy rumour making the rounds. All we need to do in this country is to be sincere with one another in all we do or say, if we are really serious about building a virile and prosperous nation of our dream.
Nigeria is a country of endless possibilities where anything can happen. Sometimes, events or occurrences that defy human comprehension occur here from time to time. And the history of the country is replete with many wonderful stories of the nation’s miraculous retrieve from the precipice. Herein lies a particular predicament that is capable of dragging the country to the brink.
With the fragile security situation in the country, it will be wise for the security agencies to quickly find a way to smoke out the purveyors of this grandiloquent rumour, which, if not quickly checked, could cause large scale security breach, the end of which nobody can imagine. It is astonishing that up till now, the security agent who took to the internet, with his photograph conspicuously displayed, to issue that threat of embarking on a killing spree, has not been apprehended and brought to book.
We may know how and when a war will start, but nobody knows how it will surely end or those who will survive the holocaust. We all know that Nigeria is a country of many nations because of the diverse ethnic nationalities making up the fragile country. It is sad that rather than work for national cohesion and the harmonious coexistence of the ethnic nationalities in the country, our leaders are daily dividing us with their divide-and-rule politics, nepotism in matters of appointments, uneven spread of development and all that.
This winner-takes-all attitude by our politicians is killing the country and increasingly dividing us as a nation. The situation is further aggravated by the belief by a section of the country that they have the monopoly on leadership to the exclusion of other ethnic nationalities. It is for this reason that the call for the restructuring of the country in such a way that all the ethnic nationalities will have a sense of belonging is perpetually being resisted by a section of the country. Equality is about equity and fairness.
However, to douse the rising tension, the security agencies and the president’s handlers must come out forcefully to debunk the unholy rumour making the rounds. All we need to do in this country is to be sincere with one another in all we do or say, if we are really serious about building a virile and prosperous nation of our dream. God help us!
For comments SMS (only) to: 08058354382